Friday, April 15, 2011


When you’re smoking food, it just smells so good. The smell of smoking meat stirs up memories, good ones. Memories of nice clear days, not too hot, not too cold, with the smell of the meat cooking intermingled with wood and smoke.  For me, it’s remembering trips to barbecue shacks with Susie Davis on summer visits in Carolina as a child. It’s the smell of Williamsburg in the summer or Waterford in the fall on those yearly outings with Mom and Dad. It’s the smell of stopping with my own children at Cowlings Barbecue on the way to the beach, sitting on the outdoor bench under the crepe myrtles in the warm summer air, and the smell of afternoon forays to Ben’s Whole Hog with my husband on cooler days when those kids were in school. It’s the memory of the plate of smoked fish Helen and Toby bought at the Duck Deli to share as we enjoyed our beach gin and tonics on the deck overlooking the ocean. And it reminds me of snitching a taste of the smoked turkey on Thanksgiving, ceremoniously offered up by Doug, my father-in-law and the smoker of that turkey, in the kitchen before the meal. In short it reminds me of moments with people I love.

Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s challenge was tasso ham or hot smoked salmon…which would it be? According to Brian, “If you’re going to bother lighting up the smoker, and feeding it with coals every half hour all day long, you might as well fill it up!”  And that we did, smoking the meat first and after it was done smoking up the fish, and throwing some nuts and salt in between as well.

And after that, with a pile of smoked fish and meat, we cooked and we cooked. 

Baby Turnips and Asparagas with Tasso Ham... Tasso Ham Shrimp and Grits... Ranch Beans with Tasso Ham on Red Corn Cakes...Parsnip, Carrot and Potato Soup with Mushrooms and Tasso Ham... Tasso Ham and Onion Quiche...Smoked Salmon Quiche...Smoked Salmon with fresh French Neufchatel Cheese...Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Mousse...Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Terrine in Aspic...Gnocchi with Smoked Salmon Sauce and Spinach... 

Over the weekend I'll post what we made with the tasso ham and the hot smoked salmon, with recipes.